The African Men for Sexual Health and Rights [AMSHeR] joins the world in marking this years International Human Rights Day. The International Human Rights Day is a commemoration of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights [UDHR] which proclaimed the universality of human rights and enshrined the principles that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.? These principles of equality and non-discrimination have found expression in all subsequent human rights instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples? Rights and the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of most countries.
It is sad to note that over six decades after the adoption of the UDHR, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex [LGBTI] persons, and other same-sex practicing and gender variant people around the world continue to be victims of discrimination and violence because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity. According to the 2011 annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, ?homophobic and transphobic violence has been recorded in all regions. Such violence may be physical [including murder, beatings, kidnappings, rape and sexual assault] or psychological [including threats, coercion and arbitrary deprivations of liberty]?. This statement holds true particularly in Africa where there has been a growing spate of violence towards LGBTI persons buoyed on by hate speeches by political, traditional and religious leaders, abetted by law enforcement agencies and the various anti-gay legislations currently being debated by Parliaments across Africa. This year has recorded the brutal murders, public lynching and police harassment of LGBTI persons and LGBTI human rights defenders.
AMSHeR strongly condemns discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; and calls on national governments to honour their obligations under the various human rights instruments including the African Charter on Human and Peoples? Rights to protect LGBTI persons from discrimination and violence, investigate and diligently prosecute the perpetrators of human rights abuses and hate-crimes, as well as fully guarantee the rights of equality and non-discrimination of everyone, including LGBTI persons.
AMSHeR also calls on the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to join other international and regional human rights bodies in unequivocally condemning violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
AMSHeR salutes the courage of LGBTI persons and LGBTI human rights defenders in Africa and around the world who continue to work under extremely hostile conditions to ensure that the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for everyone including LGBTI persons. On the occasion of the 2012 International Human Rights Day, AMSHeR specially remembers those African LGBTI persons and LGBTI human rights defenders whose murders were reported in 2012: Thapelo Makhutle, Hassan Buba, Ndumie Funda, Mandisa Mbambo, Maurice Mjomba, Rulov Senekal, Ahmed Ghoniem, Bruno Bronn, the unnamed Kenyan gay man lynched by a mob, and the many others who remain unnamed and whose murders remain unreported.We commit to keeping your memories alive by continuing to work towards a better world, a world in which truly all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.